One day the Builder had nothing to do, and this he could not stand. So he took a block of stone, and he took hammer and chisel in hand, and he began to work.

At first, his movements were slow, and unsure, and there was not he could do to make his hands decisive. But he persisted, carving mass from the stone, and replacing it with angle, curve, proportion.

He could not concentrate, and he could not find inspiration, but neither could he come to rest. The sound of stone being chipped by his own force grated his ears; and the progress he made did not at all seem good enough to condone his persistence, which caused him no end of annoyance. He could not shake the feeling of failure, no matter how he fought to work with or against it.

At some point, he felt the sharpness of the chisel glance off the stone and hit his own body. He did not flinch. He kept on. He aimed and he struck again and again until he carved from himself everything but his nose, until he was nothing but the very tip of his nose, and only then could he do no more – only then did he come to rest, even though this rest was a frightfully active rest, like the eye of a storm, the eye of a dark and viscous beast.

It was there, in that state, that the Lady of the Veil came to him. She approached him, and found him persisting in his decimations, and sought to console him. But he was inconsolable. She placed her own self at the mercy of his work, she placed her own body before his hammer and his chisel, his arms and hands and brow, and allowed him to pierce her and part her and half and quarter and fracture her. In this wise she lead him down the Endless Hall, to the Door of Red and Gold.

At the Door of Red and Gold, she spoke thus to him:

'Builder, builder, why do you persist in this blind persistence of yours?'

The Builder then etched into the Door of Red and Gold the word

STRENGTH

'And whom do you seek to please?'

NO ONE

'And what do you seek to gain?'

PERFECTION

'And when will you desist?'

DEATHLESS

And the Lady of the Veil, she looked upon the brow of the Builder, and she felt compassion for him. She restored him to his shop, and returned him to before his stone, and allowed him to make her image into that block of stone.

When the Builder had completed this image, he set aside his hammer, and he set aside his chisel, and he flexed all his limbs, and sat before the image, and contemplated it in silence.

There was not else for him to do. His day of rest had come to an end.

Death"less, a.

Not subject to death, destruction, or extinction; immortal; undying; imperishable; as, deathless beings; deathless fame.

 

© Webster 1913.

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